B-160483 December 9, 1966

B-160483: Dec 9, 1966

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Is eligible for relief under the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966. We understand that Miss Stathacoupulos is employed by the Small Business Administration and that the agency has authority under 5 U.S.C. 5514 to effect withholdings from her current salary to recover an indebtedness resulting from the excessive salary payments received by her during the period October 14. Or terminating or suspending collection action thereon whenever it appears that no person liable on such claim has the present or prospective financial ability to pay a significant sum thereon or that the cost of collecting the claim is likely to exceed the amount of recovery. "Collection by offset will be undertaken administratively on claims which are liquidated or certain in amount in every instance in which this is feasible.

B-160483 December 9, 1966

The Honorable Abraham J. Multer House of Representatives

Dear Mr. Multer:

We refer to your letter of November 29, 1966, in which you request advice as to whether you constituent, Miss Sophia Stathacoupulos, is eligible for relief under the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966.

We understand that Miss Stathacoupulos is employed by the Small Business Administration and that the agency has authority under 5 U.S.C. 5514 to effect withholdings from her current salary to recover an indebtedness resulting from the excessive salary payments received by her during the period October 14, 1962, through July 16, 1966.

The Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966, Pub. L. 89-508, to which you refer, constitutes authority for compromising a claim of the Government, or terminating or suspending collection action thereon whenever it appears that no person liable on such claim has the present or prospective financial ability to pay a significant sum thereon or that the cost of collecting the claim is likely to exceed the amount of recovery. However, that set does not provide a legal basis to relieve currently employed employees of liability to refund overpayments of salary when, consistent with the regulations thereunder, such overpayments may be collected under the authority contained in 5 U.S.C. 5514. In such connection the regulations promulgated jointly by the Attorney General and the Comptroller General (Title IV, Code of Federal Regulations) under the authority of section 3 of the act provide, in part, that--

"Collection by offset will be undertaken administratively on claims which are liquidated or certain in amount in every instance in which this is feasible. Collections by offset from persons receiving pay or compensation from the Federal Government shall be effected over a period not greater than the period during which such pay or compensation is to be received. See 5 U.S.C. 5514. "

"A claim may be compromised pursuant to this part if the Government cannot collect the full amount because of (a) the debtor's inability to pay the full amount with a reasonable time, or (b) the refusal of the debtor to pay the claim in full and the Government's inability to enforce collection in full within a reasonable time by enforced collection proceedings."

"A claim may be compromised pursuant to this part if the cost of collecting the claim does not justify the enforced collection of the full amount.* * *"

It is our view that there is no authority under the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966 and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto to discontinue collection action in Miss Stathacopulos' case since she is currently is employed and it appears that her indebtedness may be liquidate within a reasonable time by payroll deductions.

Sincerely yours

FRANK H. WEITZEL Assistant Comptroller General of the United States